Crops

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 36: The case of the disappearing nitrogen

by BERNARD TOBIN

Whenever you plant soybeans no-till into first-time soybean ground, there’s a high probability that nodulation will not take place. That’s a message that agronomist Paul Sullivan preaches every spring.

It certainly was a key point for Kelvin, an Ottawa area grower who converted a long-time hay and pasture farm to soybeans in the spring of 2011. In his conversations with Kelvin, Sullivan emphasized the need for scouting first-time soybean fields in early July and checking the roots for nodulation.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 34

Five of the row units on Karl’s six-row planter had developed an inch and a half gap between the gauge wheel and the frame. This loose assembly allowed dirt to get into these gaps and caused the gauge wheels to lift on five of the units during planting.

Pioneer Hi-Bred agronomist Scott Fife explains that the lifting motion caused the five affected row units to have a different planting depth than the row unit that worked properly.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 35: What happened to Nevin’s soybean seed?

by BERNARD TOBIN

When Nevin moved to Canada in the fall of 2010, DeKalb field agronomist Sean Cochrane was happy to lend a helping hand.

Nevin had farmed in Europe and the committed no-tiller was eager to continue the practice on the four farms he had bought in the Pontiac region on the Quebec side of the Ottawa river. But, as Nevin quickly discovered, setting up a farming operation on such short notice presents challenges. And 2011 spring planting conditions – some of the worst in recent memory – didn’t help.

Ontario’s herb growers share a small but valuable niche market

Though exact figures are hard to come by, one estimate is that it is between $10 and $20 million. And research is ongoing to enlarge it

by MIKE MULHERN

Connie Kehler, the executive director of the Saskatoon-based Canadian Herb, Spice and Natural Health Product Coalition, can take you on a tour of the entire country and tell you the strengths of each province.

A refuge calculator tool to help you choose your corn hybrid

Log on to the Better Farming website and you’ll find a link to a handy tool, which will help you comply with refuge requirements when planting Bt corn varieties

by DON STONEMAN

Choose your Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn hybrid with care. And don’t forget to match it up with the right amount of refuge hybrid if one is required. That’s one piece of advice crop experts stress and there’s a new tool to help you do that.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 34: What happened to Karl’s corn planter?

by BERNARD TOBIN

With the challenging planting conditions of spring 2011, Pioneer Hi-Bred agronomist Scott Fife knew it would only be a matter of time before he received his first call from a grower asking him for help with some strange happenings in a newly planted field.

Fife’s first call to investigate came in late June from Karl, a Glengarry County farmer, who was trying to understand why his corn field featured an odd pattern – five short rows followed by one taller, knee-high row – that was repeated across the entire field.

Growers see a promising future for canola in Ontario

Though it lags far behind soybeans and corn, acreage has more than quadrupled since 2006, yields are improving and it fits well with crop rotation

by MARY BAXTER

For Mike Schill, there’s nothing new about adding canola into the crop rotation. The spike-leaved, yellow-flowered plant occupies about 35 per cent of the roughly 5,000 acres he farms with his father and brother near Arthur in Wellington County. “My father started growing it in the mid-1980s,” says Schill.

Dow AgroSciences wins a partial victory on 2,4-D

As the result of a legal settlement, Quebec agrees that the herbicide doesn’t pose unacceptable risks, provided label instructions are followed. But cosmetic bans on its use may still continue


by SUSAN MANN

Quebec can keep its ban on non-crop uses of 2,4-D, but it had to drop a controversial description of the product as dangerous as a result of the settlement of a legal challenge by the herbicide’s manufacturer.

Make your crop residue an opportunity, not a problem

That’s the philosophy at VanMeer Farms, in Tillsonburg, where using residue to control erosion and give back nutrients to the soil is routine practice

by TONY BALKWILL
 

When you enter the office of George Vermeersch and his sons, Greg and Jeff, of VanMeer Farms, Tillsonburg, you will notice a key feature: a whiteboard displaying different tillage tool headings and fields specifically labelled to require a certain tillage pass based on cropping history, harvest and previous tillage.

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